In Care Of: Northern Alberta. Southern Alberta. The Philippines. California. British Columbia. Michigan. Africa. Florida. Saskatchewan. Australia. Illinois. Southwestern Ontario. A lot of Southwestern Ontario…
For some of you, it’s been awhile.
We may not even really keep in contact anymore, but the memories are still there: I was at your wedding. You stood up at mine. We drove across the country with little more than a sense of adventure and a pineapple song.
We wrote letters. I borrowed your books, your calculator… and your DVD collections (they’re still my favourite).
You stopped me on the way out of church for a cup of coffee. I sat next to you in the Sunday School classroom. We sang duets before an audience until we nearly lost our voices.
I remember your love of frogs. And elephants. And the way you used to make me laugh so hard I’d start to cry. I thought your smile was beautiful, and you gave the best hugs. Without you, I would have never made it through Math Class, or played basketball (or even soccer). I told you secrets I’ve never told anyone else.
We had so many interests. And definitely some arguments (didn’t we all?) But you helped me understand words like “love”, “prayer”, “community”… and “Kuya”.
I saw your tears, ‘though it mortified you at the time, and the age difference between us didn’t matter. You were my teacher, my student, my colleague – my friend.
Even though it was only a week. Three months. A semester. High School. Elementary School. Our entire lives (Take your pick).
We shared something – Houses. Families. Classes. Cabins. Busses. An ice cream sundae… However little it may have seemed. However long ago it may have happened.
Because when I push rewind on the movie of my life (because I’m a VHS survivor), you’re there, and I’m so glad. Because you helped me on this journey of becoming who I am today, and who I’m yet to be. And so I hope that I was the same for you.
Maybe, we’ll chat on facebook, or I’ll follow your photos on instagram. Every now and then, I’ll text “hello”, or we may even meet up for coffee. If we’re lucky, we’ll see each other at least once or twice a year.
Or maybe you’ll never see me again, or realize the impact that you had on my life.
But in attempt to reach you, I’m saying thank you – for being you. And I’m letting you know that I still remember you.
When my grandparents came to Canada years ago, saying “good-bye” was a much more permanent parting, and their letters carried a lot more weight. Yet here we are in a world where we can connect globally with video and images – in a world where I can grow up on one side of the country, and go to school on the other, then bounce around teaching in various communities.
“Bouncing”, but never forgetting.
I often feel overwhelmed at all the places I’ve lived, or all the people that I struggle to keep in contact with (even in the age of Facebook). I’ll even let myself think about how much “easier” it is for those who are surrounded by the same people they’ve known their entire lives.
But see… then I wouldn’t have ever met you. And I have to say, you’re hardly insignificant (truly).
Just remember that.
And in the meantime, hold onto the people that you’re still blessed to have in your life, however little. My guess is, they’re pretty important too.
PS: Write back soon.